The Market


Amelia Island 2022: Bonhams’ $14.2m auction

Amelia Island 2022: Bonhams’ $14.2m auction 3rd March 2022

In an atmosphere more ‘businesslike’ than ‘barnstorming’, the Brits nonetheless sold 87% of their 84-car catalogue earlier this evening, grossing $14,213,250 before post-sales.

There were none of the magic moments we’ve witnessed before; beady-eyed Brass Era enthusiasts fighting to the death over the sole remaining 1912 Swiftmobile. Instead, the only average-quality catalogue was despatched over many hours at a sometimes glacial pace. It took at least 10 minutes to sell the chart-topping 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder for $4.185m gross, alone

At a glance:
* Gross, motor cars: $14,213,250 (2021, $20,691,120)
* Percentage sold by number: 87% (2021, 82%)
* Top-selling car: 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder $4,185,000 gross, $3,800,000 net (est. $4.5m to $5m)
* Well sold? The 550 Spyder – they got it away for a good price on the night
* Well bought? You could say the ca. $52k all-in 1967 Maserati Mexico 4.2, but we’ll plump for the late-model (1974) Lamborghini Espada S3 needing at least a return to as-delivered Luci del Bosco brown metallic that sold for $42.56k gross (est. $50k to $80K)

Bidding on the Porsche 550 (pictured, top) started at $3m and swiftly rose to over $3.5m, with the telephones registering interest in the high $3ms. Ultimately, offers never broke the $4m mark and auctioneer Rupert Banner finally, finally dropped the hammer at $3.8m. Surely the right result on the day; as we forecast, the estimate was simply too high.

Another entry carrying a confident guide price was the lovely Pinin Farina-bodied Jaguar XK120 Fixedhead Coupé (above). It, too, went for sensible market value: $1,066,500 gross against its $900k to $1.2m guide.

The acid yellow 1960 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (above) did not sell. Nor did the 1938 Bugatti Type 57C Stelvio Convertible (below), or the 1952 Allard J2X. The former is a model in vogue right now, but this one’s non-matching engine killed it, while the latter pair define the expression ‘generational change’.

Compared to 53% in 2021, Bonhams slipped back to selling two thirds of the catalogue below low estimate. Only 8%, rather than 23% a year ago, beat upper guide price. Still, the tent remained busy until the end, when Banner was starting pre-War Rolls at $5k.

Coming off the back of strong results in Scottsdale and Paris, it was a disappointing start to the Amelia Island auctions. Gooding’s far more interesting catalogue, with a greater selection for modern buyers, should be a different proposition – we’ll know whether it really is in 24 hours’ time.

Bonhams at Amelia Island, 3 March 2022 – results (2021)

Gross: $14,213,250 ($20,691,120)
Number of cars not sold: 11 (19)
Number of cars withdrawn: 0 (6)
Total number of cars: 84 (106)
Number sold: 73 (87)
Percentage of cars sold by number: 87% (82%)
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 60% (70%)
Percentage of cars met or sold below low estimate: 67% (53%)
Percentage of cars sold below avge of estimates: 85% (66%)
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 8% (23%)
Average price of cars sold: $169,205 ($195,199)
Average year of cars offered: 1951 (1944)
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 57% (49%)

With thanks to Hammer Price

Photos by K500